Building Confidence and Self-Esteem
How do you build your child’s self-esteem? I’ve used this idea with my grandson and hope it will help you.
I tell him “Always leave on a good note.”
The easiest way to show you how we use it might be a sports analogy, but the concept can be used any time you want to help your child succeed.
If my grandson Kyle and I have been shooting baskets and it’s time to leave, I will say, “One more basket and then we have to go.” Then I add, “Always leave on a good note.” He knows we will stay until he makes that last all-important basket. Why is that last shot so important? Because it is the one he will remember.
He knows that by making the last shot he has been successful on the basketball court and that he has “left it on a good note.” Kyle loves it. He leaves the basketball court as a successful shot maker. That success is his memory of shooting baskets with his grandfather.
We use that same confidence building concept in other areas.
For example, if he is having problems with a particular night’s math homework, we will “always leave it on a good note.” In this case, after he has successfully completed one of the math problems we might stop for a 5 to 10 minute break. I’ll let him do something else for the short break and then we will finish the night’s math homework. It is amazing how that successful completion of a math problem and a short break refocuses his attitude for the balance of the homework assignment.
Try the “always leave on a good note” concept. Before long your children will be using the expression themselves, and without fully understanding what is happening, they will be building on their personal success, one successfully completed event after another.
Ideas for Implementation:
1. It is vitally important to be patient with your child. In the beginning it took Kyle 5 minutes to make that last basket, but he never felt rushed.
2. Use the “Always leave it on a good note” statement often, so your child starts to think in those terms.
3. Congratulate your child on a job well done.
What if I Fall on My Face?
What If I Fall Flat On My Face? by Skye Thomas
I hope you do. Sounds awful, I know. But I really think the best thing that can happen to you is for you to take a timid little leap and fall flat on your face. Then, I want to see you get back up, evaluate what you did wrong, and jump again. Keep on taking that leap of faith and learning from each and every mistake until you become used to jumping and used to falling. Then, you will get over the fear of falling and you will finally begin to concentrate on flying. I want to see you run with everything you have and dive into your dreams with so much passion and fire that you forget all about the possibility of failing. You will never find your wings until you do.
The fear of failure is a cruel and stupid trick we pull on ourselves. The fact that the fear of failure stops us from going after our goals and dreams means that we have already failed. I ask you this, who cares if you fail? Brilliant people fail every single day. Brave tenacious people fall flat on their faces and even get laughed at every single day. Here is an example of a perfectly nice person who was known to fail, Christopher Reeves. How many mornings did he wake up telling himself that he was going to walk and then went to bed having failed yet again? Great guy, people loved him. He never let a little thing like yesterday’s failure stop him from working hard again today. He was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. Who ever planted that stupid idea in our heads that we had to be successful at every single thing every single day in order to be likeable?
What is failure anyway? In my eyes, Christopher Reeves was definitely not a failure. Nobody with that much tenacity, focus, and drive fails. He was a real hero. You have not failed until you have given up trying. As long as you are still taking leaps of faith, you are still a winner. Failure, like everything else, has its breaking point. At some point, if you hit at it in the same spot over and over again it eventually breaks. How many light bulbs did Thomas Edison make before he got it right? Most people do not know the answer to that because they do not care how many times he failed before he finally succeeded. He kept learning from each attempt, adapting to the knew information, stayed the course, held the dream, and did not let the fear of failure nor the fear of other people’s ridicule stop him.
One of the reasons that I think we hear so many stories of immigrants coming to this country and making it big is because they were raised on stories of the ability to create whatever kind of life you envision for yourself here. The stories they grew up hearing about how everyone has the ability to succeed in America overrides any underlying belief that they themselves could fail. They do not have a fear of failure so they just roll up their sleeves and get to work making their dreams come true. Sure, they stumble and fall and learn a few lessons along the way, but they certainly do not give up and quit.
Afraid of what other people are going to think of you if you fail? Have you ever met someone who played it ultra safe that was very impressive? People who do not take risks are seldom if ever cheered, admired, or in the limelight. Besides, Americans love an underdog. We love to see some scrappy go-getter who has no business thinking they can win. We love to watch that same person stumble and fall a few times only to pick themselves up and really make something of themselves. It is the American Dream. Hollywood knows it. They have made an entire industry of showing us the stories of underdogs who dust themselves off and finally become winners. Nobody pays money to watch a movie about some perfect person who designs a perfect dream and experiences a flawless life while accomplishing everything they set out to do easily and effortlessly. Boooooring! We do not like people who come across as too perfect anyway. So go ahead and fail, it gives us a reason to pay attention to you, to relate to you, to cheer you on.
One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given on this subject was back in high school when I was first learning how to water-ski. I was told, “If you aren’t falling down, then you aren’t trying very hard. You’re playing it safe, staying in your comfort zone. You aren’t getting any better.” That pushed me to get past my fear of falling. I beat the heck out of my poor body that summer, but I also made impressive gains in my ability to master the sport. Nobody talked about how many times I fell that summer nor how black and blue I was, they only talked about how fast I was learning and what a great job I was doing. My teacher would sit back with this self-satisfied smirk on his face because only he knew how hard it had been for me to push past that comfort zone to allow myself permission to fall down. Nothing beats taking that big bite out of life and having it bite back just a bit! Laugh it off and dive in again.
Are you really going to shelve something so dear to your heart because you might fail? If I could promise you that you would only fail twice and on the third attempt you would succeed, then would you go ahead and suffer through the first two failures in order to get to that third time? Of course, you would. All that is left to debate is how many times. So, go ahead… take that first leap of faith.
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